PsycCRITIQUES® Book Reviews
APA is a major publisher in the field of psychology through both our journals and books programs. But beyond our own collections, including PsycBOOKS®, the APA Books® E-Collections, and APA Handbooks in Psychology™, we are also committed to being a go-to source for published books relevant to psychology.
PsycINFO® provides citations, abstracts, subject indexing, and tables of contents for English-language books published worldwide. PsycCRITIQUES® is our review database and designed as a tool for researchers specifically focused on the behavioral sciences, providing reviews of very current books — as well as films and software — by a highly qualified team of reviewers.
If you are a PsycCRITIQUES user, have you ever wondered how books are selected for review? Or have you come across a work, for example, by a faculty member at your institution, that you wanted to get the exposure of a PsycCRITIQUES review? Here's how it works.
Meet Mike Baetzhold, Supervisor of Book Content, who will explain the process. Mike has been a part of APA since 2000, although he has spent the bulk of his career here as a technical information specialist — that is, one of the trained staff who analyze and index content for PsycINFO. He has a BA in psychology from Canisius College in Western New York.
One of the committees he served on while in PsycINFO was the Books group, and last year when he was ready for a new challenge and the Books supervisor position opened up, he made the change.
A river of books flow through Mike's office. He receives all that come into APA, those destined for both PsycINFO and PsycCRITIQUES, as well as those that do not meet our criteria. Mike estimates that he has averaged processing perhaps 40 titles a week — although the flow is definitely uneven. Some weeks he has so many he can build a fort with them, whereas other weeks they appear in just a trickle.
They come to APA in a number of ways. Many publishers who specialize in behavioral science fields provide essentially all their new work to us for evaluation as a matter of course. Some authors who are aware of the value that indexing in PsycINFO or a review in PsycCRITIQUES can add ask their publishers to send us their work as it's published. Mike also proactively searches for appropriate content, spending part of his day reviewing publisher websites and reviews for new titles.
In addition, for PsycCRITIQUES specifically, there's a further source for content. Danny Wedding, Associate Dean for Management and International Programs, California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant University, and ebullient Editor of PsycCRITIQUES, is constantly on the lookout for titles that interest him, asking that Mike procure and send him two or three specific titles a week.
As a rule of thumb, all PsycCRITIQUES reviewed books are in PsycINFO, but not all PsycINFO books are reviewed in PsycCRITIQUES. Threshold inclusion criteria for both are stringent. Thus, last year, out of the books that arrived at APA, almost 2,000 met the inclusion criteria for PsycINFO. About half of that number then went on to the PsycCRITIQUES Editor's office at the Editor's request or our suggestion.
The PsycCRITIQUES editorial office selects about one in four of the available books. The books chosen are sent to a reviewer, and guidelines for reviewers are also exacting.
As PsycCRITIQUES' primary mission is to publish timely reviews, not only do the books need to be recently published — publishers are encouraged to forward their books as soon as they are published if they wish them to be considered for review — but the reviewer must review the books within 30 days.
If you know of current works by faculty at your institution that you think we should review, ask the author or publisher to send us review copies. Make sure the books have been published within the past year and meet guidelines for inclusion and have them sent to Mike at our offices here in Washington, DC.
Some of them may even be featured and become part of the discussion on the PsycCRITIQUES blog.